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My Social Media/Web Tools Review for August

Once again, I have found my digital notepad fill-up rather quickly with “things to blog about”, so here they are:

Google Insights for Search

For the longest time I had to endure listening to my clients tell me how hard it is to get their IT guys to give them WebTrends data they need. Or better yet, how nobody in their department has the time to copy and paste the three lines of code that Google Analytics requires. Along comes Google Insights, which is based on Google’s immense database of their actual usage statistics. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that these guys hold the key to an unimaginable amount of information that every marketer would drool over. Well guess what? They are now sharing some of it with us. Best of all you can search for statistics relevant to you. A quick search for “department of national defence” taught me that most of the search queries on the topic are coming from Nova Scotia and people are searching specifically for “national defence canada”. I can compare trends, look at different time periods, and do basic cross tabulations in seconds. Very impressive for an application that anyone can use right away.


Sure a lot of this information is available through your web analytics software (if you have access to it), however the greatest benefit here is that you can track and research other relevant web sites and/or keywords right from your computer without any special access/coding required. Imagine the insight you can get on competing web sites, or better yet, the best practice information of particualrly successfull initiatives.

This new search engine erupted onto the scene last month with promises of “searching more pages on the web than anyone else” and “ranking pages based on their content and relevance as opposed to superficial popularity metrics”. Great idea, however before taking on the behemoth Google, they should have ensured their product was delivering on that promise. After all the hype surrounding it, the interest has all but been lost as demonstrated by a simple Technorati search for all blog posts tagged “cuil” (shown below).


That being said, I am quite confident that the Cuil team is fixing things up as we speak and the young search engine will soon emerge as a truly viable competitor to Google. At the very least it will appeal to certain niche audiences looking for alternate methods of presenting information. Among other things, it tends to already do a great job of aggregating posts from social media applications and networks. Don’t rule out this tool just yet…

Twitter Search

Formerly known as Summize and recently acquired by Twitter, this tool is by far my favourite “conversation gauging” tool available. All of you marketers and communicators should be using this tool to see who is talking about your initiative LIVE! You can choose to either watch from the sidelines or actually get involved and engage in dialogue where relevant. Simply type in the keyword (as you would in any search engine) and you will immediately be provided with a list (in chronological order) of current conversations mentioning that word/phrase on Twitter. For those of you that still aren’t convinced of Twitter relevancy within your target audience, have a look at TwitDir for recent usage statistics or TwitterVision for a live 3d view of worldwide conversation locations. There are a plethora of new Twitter mashups like this coming out every day (thanks to the open API platform), so keep your eyes open for a tool that meets your unique needs.


This great web site follows the same concept as SlideShare (presentation sharing), only it deals with documents, reports, e-books, etc…I cannot overemphasize the significance of this to anyone writing a report or conducting secondary research on any topic. I see so much re-inventing of the wheel going on in the public sector that it makes me sick. Have a look at what the world is already doing and willing to share with you!


Some of you may have already seen this somewhere or have been using this tool for a while. I’ll keep the description simple: If you have ever tried to send someone a long URL only to have it screw up the pretty formatting of your document/email due to it’s length, then this tool is for you. It takes that long URL and makes a tiny one out of it automatically.


Turn this URL:

Into this tinyURL:

Ok that’s it for this week folks. I will be launching my new national workshop and speaking schedule soon so be sure to check back!

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One Comment

  1. Alain Lemay

    Keep ’em coming Mike. I love these updates.

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